Sales on the island continue to be very strong with September sales up 55% at 34 (SF-20, Con-8, Dup-4 & Lot-2) over September 2009 at 22 (SF-9, Con-11, Dup-0 & Lot-2).  Year-to-date sales through September 30, 2010 continue to stay well ahead of last year up 38% at 232 (SF-139, Con-64, Dup-19 & Lot-10) compared to September 30,2009 Y-T-D at 168 (SF-87, Con-64, Dup-6 & Lot-11).  The increased sales continue to be related to the increase in single family and duplex sales this year versus last year.  Even if we just match 2009 fourth quarter sales, we will end up the year at 298 properties sold.  Pended sales are at 50 (SF-22, Con-23, Dup-3 & Lot-2), although down from last month’s 66, they are still well above average and my best guess is that sales for 2010 will be above 300 for the year.  Island Real Estate sales continue to be strong with 10 properties put under contract and 11 properties closed in September.
 Inventory on the island continues to drop with it currently at 522 (SF-254, Con-180, Dup-37 & Lot-51) compared to 540 last month and 544 in August.  We’re getting close to the magical number of 500 under which supply and demand are in relative balance and inventory is at about 18 months supply at the average sales volume.  Distressed properties (short sales & bank owned) are down to 43 currently (SF-18, Con-17, Dup-5 & Lot-3) compared to 44 last month and 53 in August.  Distressed properties are running 28% (SF-34, Con-20, Dup-10 & Lot-1 = 65) of the September 30, 2010 Year-to-Date sales (232) on the island.  Nationally 40% of the sales are distressed sales, in Manatee/Sarasota 50% of the sales are distressed and on the island 28% this year’s sales have been distressed.
 Another one of Frank & Al’s Great Buy’s went under contract (606 Key Royale Drive listed at $319,000), a definite fixer upper on the canal.  Just about all of the other properties are great buys for their location, rental capability and price.  A couple that stand out are, 3302 6th Avenue, a four-plex listed at $599,000 three houses from the beach with plenty of room for a pool which would make this a dynamite seasonal rental.  Another is 704 Rose St., listed at $429,000 a 2bedroom/2 bath in the north end of the island, one and a half blocks to the beach and with a pool, it would be a great rental property.  If you want to be west of gulf drive then 115 Palm Ave. listed at $499,000 is for you.  There are currently 10 properties for sale west of Gulf Drive that are not direct gulf fronts and 115 Palm is the lowest priced one.  In the last 12 months 8 properties have sold west of Gulf Drive and all between $500K and $800K.  The Gulf View Short Sale Townhouse (3603 4th Ave) is another great buy.  Listed at $799,000 it’s a lot of house in a great location with partial Gulf Views, Pool, elevator and 2,376 sq ft of living area.  Being a short sale who knows what the bank will take….make an offer.
 Interest rates, although at all time low’s, continue to creep even lower with 30 year fixed rate mortgages up to $417,000 for first and second homes at 4.21%.  To put in perspective how that stacks up to historical rates take a look at the historical mortgage rate graphs at the end of this newsletter which shows rates back to 1963.  Based on the WSJ, it looks like the Fed is going to allow some inflation to try to spur economic growth.  If they do, interest rates are going to jump up.  With property prices as low as they are going to go and the mortgage rates at the lowest you are going to see in our lifetime this is the time for you buyer’s to pull the trigger. 
 Speaking of good deals, the current news on bank foreclosures is that three large banks, Bank of America included, has stopped foreclosures in 23 States because they might not have followed lawful procedures.  The Federal Government is seriously considering stopping all foreclosures in the US due to questions on ownership of some of these properties because the mortgages have been sold so many times.  If that happens, the banks will have to sit on their foreclosed properties for some indefinite period of time.  A consequence of that may be banks moving much quicker and aggressively on short sales since foreclosing will only increase their inventory of properties that they can’t sell.
 Many clients have asked about the demographics of the Manatee County area so I have included them at the end of the newsletter.  It includes population, age and wage information on the cities in Manatee County including the three cities on Anna Maria Island.  Hope you enjoy the newsletter.